MLB's top 20 pitching trade candidates

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As the July 30 trade deadline nears, theScore's MLB editors look at the top 20 pitching candidates (10 starters, 10 relievers) who could be moved.

Starters

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1. Max Scherzer, Nationals

Age: 36
Position: RHP
Contract: 1-year, $34.5M
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
105 2.83 142 0.89

If the Nationals decide to sell - and that's still somewhat of a question - Scherzer will be the deadline's biggest prize. Prying the future Hall of Famer away from D.C. will not be easy, as he won't waive his no-trade rights without also getting an extension from his new team. But Scherzer is worth the cost if he's available.

2. Jose Berrios, Twins

Age: 27
Position: RHP
Contract: 1-year, $6.1M (Arb 3, 2022)
Trade probability: ★★★★☆

IP ERA K WHIP
114.2 3.69 122 1.08

Minnesota is pulling the plug with its season circling the drain. Whether the club tears everything down or merely tries to recalibrate remains to be seen. Berrios may be the team's most sought-after piece as contenders look to replace injured hurlers and gain rotation depth for this season and next. The right-hander has built up a proven track record and is 7-4 this season. The Twins won't give him away for nothing.

3. Sonny Gray, Reds

Age: 31
Position: RHP
Contract: 2 years, $20.3M ($12M option in 2023)
Trade probability: ★☆☆☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
66.2 3.65 86 1.35

The Reds have lost significant ground in the NL Central and could quickly become sellers. Cincinnati can still look to contend with its core next season, though, so getting the Reds to move Gray or Luis Castillo is a long shot. But trading Gray could bring back a strong return of players either already at the MLB level or close. The club has moved out some of its more expensive pieces in the past, and the Reds also boast impressive pitching prospects who could be promoted by next spring (Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo among them).

4. Kyle Hendricks, Cubs

Age: 31
Position: RHP
Contract: 3 years, $42M ($16M vesting option 2024)
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
117.1 3.61 87 1.26

The control artist and former ERA champion leads the NL in both hits and home runs allowed. But Hendricks has a history of playoff success, and that could make him a very appealing trade target. However, his contract might keep him in Chicago. He's earning $14 million this year, and a guaranteed $29.5 million over the next three seasons.

5. Jon Gray, Rockies

Age: 29
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $6M
Trade probability: ★★★★★

IP ERA K WHIP
93 3.68 87 1.22

The Rockies are adamant that ace German Marquez won't be moved prior to the deadline, but no such assurances have been made about Gray, who will be a free agent this winter. Gray has become hot at the right time while going 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA (2.67 FIP) in 30 innings over his last five starts since being reactivated from the IL on June 25. The righty has also seemingly solved hitter-friendly Coors Field with a 3.14 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while holding opponents to a .169 batting average. The Rockies likely won't extend him, and he should be highly coveted.

6. Kyle Gibson, Rangers

Age: 33
Position: RHP
Contract: 2 years, $16M
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
107 2.86 90 1.13

Gibson might be the bargain of the deadline. A surprising All-Star this year, he's a consistent workhorse who can help stabilize any contending rotation. Plus, he comes at a cheaper rate, as Gibson is earning just $7 million in 2022. He might not be as good as his numbers dictate, but the veteran offers a solid back-of-the-rotation arm.

7. Kwang-Hyun Kim, Cardinals

Age: 32
Position: LHP
Contract: 1 year, $4M
Trade probability: ★★☆☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
78.1 2.87 60 1.23

Like the Reds, the Cardinals aren't really in a position to blow everything up for a rebuild, but an effective hurler like Kim could help restock the cupboard as the team looks to retool. St. Louis may extend the Korean southpaw, though, as he's been one of the few bright spots in the club's rotation, a group that's dealt with plenty of injuries.

8. Merrill Kelly, D-Backs

Age: 32
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $4.25M ($5.25M option in 2022)
Trade probability: ★★★★★

IP ERA K WHIP
117 4.46 99 1.22

Kelly may not be a game-changing talent like Scherzer, but he'd still be a solid add. The 32-year-old right-hander has authored a 3.89 FIP with 99 strikeouts over 20 starts for the D-Backs. Kelly has also logged 331 2/3 innings since returning to the majors from Korea before the 2019 season.

9. Alex Cobb, Angels

Age: 33
Position: RHP
Contract: 1-year, $15M ($10M paid by BAL)
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
72.2 3.96 80 1.24

Cobb is in the midst of his finest campaign since 2017, fashioning a 2.67 FIP over 14 starts. The Angels, who are playing close to .500 ball and will soon get back Mike Trout, may decide to keep their wins leader and make a push for the playoffs instead.

10. Madison Bumgarner, D-Backs

Age: 31
Position: LHP
Contract: 4 years, $79M
Trade probability: ★★☆☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP
70.2 5.09 69 1.20

The Diamondbacks would need to eat a solid chunk of Bumgarner's contract to unload him, but it's not impossible. Alternately, Arizona could pair him with another player to sweeten the pot. Bumgarner looked sharp against the Cubs during his first start in over a month on July 16, allowing one earned run while striking out six batters over six innings. There might be something left in his tank, and it may be worth a dice roll to see if he can become the playoff version of himself from the early 2010s.

Honorable mentions: Michael Pineda, Dylan Bundy, Tyler Anderson, Mike Minor, Zach Davies, J.A. Happ

Relievers

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1. Craig Kimbrel, Cubs

Age: 33
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $16M ($16M option in 2022)
Trade probability: ★★★★☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
35.1 0.51 61 0.68 24

Kimbrel has rediscovered his old form and is enjoying arguably his best career season. The Cubs are going to cash him in at the deadline, and they should get a nice haul in return. His next team will be receiving a bullpen anchor with postseason experience.

2. Raisel Iglesias, Angels

Age: 31
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $9.125M
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
42.1 3.40 65 0.90 19

The Angels would be much less likely to move Iglesias if he wasn't slated to hit free agency this winter, as they figure to be contenders going forward and their bullpen has experienced issues. But Iglesias will become a valuable trade chip if Los Angeles keeps falling out of the race, as playoff-bound squads can never have too many quality relievers. He's produced a solid though not spectacular ERA and WHIP while locking down 19 saves this campaign.

3. Taylor Rogers, Twins

Age: 30
Position: LHP
Contract: 1 year, $6M (Arb 4, 2022)
Trade probability: ★★★★☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
39.1 3.43 57 1.14 8

Rogers, a first-time All-Star this summer, can be utilized in a variety of roles. The southpaw has logged closing experience and rarely walks batters. He'd be a welcome addition to any contender, and the disappointing Twins could get a nice return for him.

4. Richard Rodriguez, Pirates

Age: 31
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $1.7M (Arb 2, 2023)
Trade probability: ★★★★☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
37.1 2.65 31 0.80 13

Rodriguez isn't the most well-known reliever, but he's been fantastic. The 31-year-old is tied for 10th in WAR among qualified relievers, while his WHIP ranks eighth. He's been remarkably effective for the Pirates.

5. Brad Hand, Nationals

Age: 31
Position: LHP
Contract: 1 year, $10.5M
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
41 2.63 40 1.07 20

Hand is one of the steadiest bullpen options around, and he's a very moveable asset after the Nationals only inked him to a one-year deal. Whether he gets traded largely depends on how the NL East shapes up over the next week, as Washington is in the thick of the race. But Hand could be a key piece of would-be contender's bullpen.

6. Daniel Hudson, Nationals

Age: 34
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $6M
Trade probability: ★★★★☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
29.1 2.45 43 0.85 0

Hudson looks like the 2019 version of himself again after a down year in 2020. He's recorded a career-best 13.2 K/9, and Hudson has only walked seven over 29 1/3 innings. The 34-year-old has also previously performed very well during the postseason.

7. Ryan Tepera, Cubs

Age: 33
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $800K
Trade probability: ★★★★★

IP ERA K WHIP SV
41.2 3.02 48 0.82 1

Tepera has been solid for the Cubs while posting a 2.88 FIP and striking out 48 batters over 41 2/3 innings. He's also allowed a career-low 4.8 hits per nine and only three homers. Contenders wanting affordable bullpen help should be giving Chicago a call.

8. Ian Kennedy, Rangers

Age: 36
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $2.15M
Trade probability: ★★★★★

IP ERA K WHIP SV
31.1 2.59 33 1.09 15

The former starter has carved out a prime piece of real estate as the Rangers' closer after Jose Leclerc suffered a season-ending injury. Kennedy signed a minor-league contract and has rewarded Texas with 15 saves.

9. Tanner Scott, Orioles

Age: 27
Position: LHP
Contract: 1 year, $580K (Pre-arb 2022)
Trade probability: ★★★☆☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
38 3.08 55 1.45 0

Scott has been one of the bright spots in the Orioles' bullpen while authoring a 3.24 FIP. The lefty's 13.03 K/9 ranks eighth among AL relievers, and his 0.47 HR/9 sits 14th. The rebuilding Orioles might not want to trade a young, controllable asset, but Scott's value may never be this high again.

10. Jose Cisnero, Tigers

Age: 32
Position: RHP
Contract: 1 year, $970K (Arb 2, 2022)
Trade probability: ★★★★☆

IP ERA K WHIP SV
41.1 2.83 49 1.21 4

Cisnero is in the midst of a career year, making him a valuable trade piece for the Tigers. The righty has lowered his ERA and improved his strikeouts per nine in three consecutive seasons. He's also shown a knack for finishing games when called upon to do so. Contenders in need of bullpen help will also be attracted to his low price tag.

Honorable mentions: Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, Greg Holland, Mychal Givens, Daniel Bard, Alex Colome, Hansel Robles

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MLB's top 20 pitching trade candidates
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